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Ants in my Kitchen
September 1, 2004 5:26 PM   Subscribe

How do I get rid of the teeny ants who are taking over my kitchen? [MI]

They're just little things. I've heard them called sugar ants or grease ants. I understand a lot of shore houses have them.
I've tried Raid spray (indoor and outdoor), and a couple different kinds of those ant bait trap thingies (also mostly Raid brand). No joy. Help me; if I have to keep putting my cereal into Tupperware and my bread in the freezer, I'm gonna go kabuki.
posted by willpie to Science & Nature (9 answers total)
 
Also, I swear I keep the kitchen clean.
posted by willpie at 5:32 PM on September 1, 2004


Just moved into a new house with a serious-ass ant problem (for example, you had to wipe five or ten of them off the toilet seat everytime you wanted to use the bathroom). We've got pets, so I wanted something non-toxic. I found this stuff called EnviroMan's Bugs 'R' Done...it's made out of food-grade ingredients (meaning you could literally drink the stuff and not die), so it's perfect for the kitchen. It's mainly orange peel extract--I guess ants have wax-coated breathing tubes, and this stuff dissolves the wax, killing the ant. I spray once a week or so, and the ants have kept away. Smells nice, too.
posted by gokart4xmas at 5:40 PM on September 1, 2004


Throughout my life those have found their way into the kitchen at home. We always used Terro. It's toxic, for sure, but we never had any problems with our pets getting at it (it helped to put it into the corners and under the furnaces where the ants strayed). It's a very sweet and very deadly liquid. A small puddle of it will attract all the little ants, they eat, they take some back with them, they die. It's effective, and it's amazing to watch the floor swarming with concentrated life. (And yeah, our kitchen is clean too, I sympathize)
posted by whatzit at 6:00 PM on September 1, 2004


Terro is awesome. I've considered pointing a webcam at a dollop of that stuff. Seriously, it'll give you days of (slightly morbid) entertainment.
posted by Galvatron at 6:33 PM on September 1, 2004


Cinnamon.

I've tried the lemon juice thing. I've tried the stick of ant barrier chalk from the chinatown shops. I've tried borax. I've tried boiling water. I've tried a big ass can of Raid. Cinnamon actually works. My old, old apartment was thoroughly ant infested for a couple of years, to the point where few surfaces didn't have a stray ant on them somewhere, no matter how clean and bare the kitchen was. After the judicious application of about half a Costco size canister of cinnamon, I never saw an ant in the house again for three years.

Sprinkle some along the ant trails, and ideally leave a dusting around the entry points.

The nice thing about cinnamon is that it doesn't kill the ants (which is good -- ant colonies are natural termite enemies, you want ants around, just not in the house), but they just never want to come indoors.
posted by majick at 10:34 PM on September 1, 2004


Wouldn't cinnamon be pretty messy though?

I found when I put out ant traps I had to put out quite a few of them - ten in about the 5 cupboards of mine that hold food. They did work for awhile - for months I never saw an ant - but then they came back again. I put drops in all the cracks almost a week ago, and it seems to be working. My theory is that I'm going to have to keep treating the cupboards every three months to keep them at bay, and have marked my calendar to that effect.
posted by orange swan at 6:50 AM on September 2, 2004


We've got pets,
TERRO® Liquid Ant Bait is a sweet food based product similar to pancake syrup combined with Borax. Borax is a mineral that is mined in the desert in California and is a common active ingredient that is used in soap
products such as 20 Mule Team Borax. The product kills ants but will not harm people or pets. If you spill some on your skin there will be no reaction at all. Simply wash with warm water. Pets occasionally find the Terro and eat it. Our advice when this happens is to do nothing at all. The product is not toxic enough to cause a problem and the pet will be just fine.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:41 PM on September 2, 2004


Terro powder also will keep ants from creating new homes in your houseplants, as they are wont to do with mine.
posted by Lizc at 3:04 PM on September 3, 2004


As recommended by a former roommate: Squash a few of the ants, lightly, and leave the corpses for the other ants to pick up (which they will in a few minutes in what becomes a very sad little ant funeral). I generally combine that method with an enviro-friendly orange spray (worried about my cat getting into toxic chemicals), and it's worked so far. They get the idea that your counter is *not* a safe place to be.

Nice little study in social insect behavior, as well.
posted by occhiblu at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2004


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